Easy peasy weekend squeezy

I got to hug my tall sister and brother-in-law this weekend! What a gift! We spent a quick 15 hours together, though about half we were obviously sleeping, so it was a time flew visit indeed. The purpose of their trip was to get their daughter settled in at her new apartment as she begins the fall semester of grad school prep at UMass Amherst. (We are so proud and we will surround her in prayers.) My heart is with my sister and my niece…saying goodbye, living far, too far to do weekly laundry at home, is a transition for both of them.

So yesterday I made a quick trip to the grocery store deciding to have something ready for dinner that could be easy and ready when they got to our house. Several weeks ago, I tried a recipe from the back of my Pioneer Baking Mix box. But, I made some changes. In my mind the beauty of a recipe is if it can work several ways and be tasty.

Fiesta Layer Bake

1 lb. ground beef

1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix

1 cup baking mix
16 oz. can refried beans
4 oz. can green chilies (I left these out)
1/4 cup water

1 cup thick and chunky type salsa (picante works okay too)

1-2 cups of cheddar or monterrey jack (or both)

          Basic directions:

Butter or spray a 2-2 1/2 quart rectangular baking pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees or 350 if glass pan. Prepare meat according to taco seasoning package directions. Meanwhile, combine next four ingredients; baking mix, beans, chilies, and water. Spread in a baking dish. Top bean mix layer with prepared taco meat, layer on the salsa, then cheese.

Bake for 25 min.


Serve with: guacamole, sour cream, green onions, sliced olives, shredded lettuce or typical taco stuff.  Yield 6 servings.

          Other things that might be good: corn, black beans


Serving suggestions:
The original serving suggestion is to cut this into squares to serve. I discovered that it’s quite good after it’s cooled sliced into narrow pieces then rolled in a flour tortilla and warmed in the microwave for about 40 seconds. I wrapped some for lunches which turned out great. This made me think it might be good to build in a layer of corn tortilla ripped into pieces kind of like lasagna. I haven’t tried this yet. Last night we plopped a scoop into a large flour tortilla then added the toppings as if a burrito. I served it with watermelon, chips, and salsa. Tasty good!

Flexibility is an awesome thing. That’s what I believe now. I think I used to be scared to be flexible, certainly uncomfortable. I’m talking about both in my cooking and in my everyday life. I think that fear was based on getting caught unprepared. For a long time now my everyday goal is to be organized enough to be comfortable at any given time to have company walk through the door. I taught myself to overcome the basically simple things that caused me to be so rigid. I’m so glad we’re home now. I’m so glad to once again have a home with an open door. We are blessed and we love to be blessed with the presence our friends and family.
What does this mean? Here are my everyday rules:

  1. Make the bed and tidy the bathrooms
  2. Keep things picked up/put away in the main living areas.
  3. Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes.
  4. Keep desktops, tables, and counters clear.

 So yesterday, with 5 1/2 hours warning my only concern was dinner last night and I picked something easy to think about and shop for. The guest room is kept ready, the house was pretty much in order, so really all I had to do was spritz a bit in the bathrooms and we were ready for our easy peasy weekend. We had a pleasantly sweet weekend and I got to squeeze my sister. Yay!
I can’t wait to see who is next!


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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